5 Movies To Get You Excited About Poetry
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5 Movies To Get You Excited About Poetry

If Rom-Coms and Christmas movies aren't your thing...

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5 Movies To Get You Excited About Poetry
Howl (2010)

The holiday season is upon us, which means lots of curling up with friends and family to movies. If Rom-Coms and Christmas movies aren’t your thing, here are 5 movies about poets and poetry to get you excited for another year of reading and writing.


Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings is the origin story of the Beat generation. From the dormitories of Columbia University, it follows the meeting of Allen Ginsberg and the rowdy, anti-establishment Lucien Carr. In his deepening obsession with Carr, Ginsberg manages to strike up friendships with the likes of William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, other aspiring writers who would later on in his life pioneer the Beat movement along with Ginsberg. The misfit group falls into a series of mishaps with drugs, family, and eventually a murder trial, but along the way start a revolution of words as they “untuck the shirt” of academia, and fight for their own truths to be heard.

BONUS: If the Beats are your thing, check out HOWL, an experimental film about Ginsberg’s 1957 Obscenity Trial which features a reading of the epic Howl played to beautifully dark animation.



Louder than A Bomb

Founded in 2001, Louder than a Bomb is the largest youth poetry slam held annually in Chicago. This documentary gives us a peek into the lives of 4 High Schoolers from different parts of the city on their journey to the stage. Each comes from a different context, carrying their own set of pain and responsibility. As they find joy, find a voice, and build communities, not only do we get to watch their performances, but we also get to see for ourselves how teachers have supported them, how schools have kept them on track, and how the environments created by Louder Than a Bomb have changed their lives. I first watched this documentary in a creative writing class in High School. Produced in 2010, most of these kids have went on and finished college, but many still continue to write. To this day, I continue to find inspiration in the work and in the art that they do.



Wilde

Stephen Fry as Oscar Wilde gives us a complex and nuanced reflection at this poet-playwright’s tormented life as he struggles to navigate his responsibilities as husband, father, and artist. This film is Wilde’s journey from internal conflict to coming to terms with being gay, and finding refuge in a tumultuous affair with the voyeuristic but handsome Lord Alfred Douglas. Through his work and self-revelations, he exposes the hypocritical performances put up by his own intolerant Victorian society. At the end of the film, Wilde is tried for gross indecency and sentenced to two years of hard labor. Still, even when he got out, he fought to the end of is life to live as his most authentic self.


Sylvia

A tragic retelling of the passionate, and often explosive, relationship between Sylvia Plath and husband Ted Hughes. This film beautifully carves the likeness of her youth as she fights for a voice as a young female writer and follows the couples’ burgeoning love, spiraling into a painful marriage as Plath struggles to escape the shadow of her husband’s fame, and the constant suspicion of Hughes’ infidelity, leading to her suicide.


Total Eclipse

Total Eclipse follows the wild, young prodigy Arthur Rimbaud as he embarks on his libertine adventures; running away from home and living a crazed artistic lifestyle with fellow poet and forbidden love Paul Verlaine. The pair embarks on a fierce, absinthe-fueled romance until Rimbaud's 21st year, wherein he returns home to write what would be his greatest accomplishment, after which he famously stopped writing at all.


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